Time Span: 8 WeeksFocus: User Experience Design
Travel App; A Case StudyFor a leading travel brand I investigated the current conditions of the travel industry. The goal was to create a mobile application that addressed existing pain points that would ultimately improve the travel experience.
To start off my research I wanted to know if and how people foster unique experiences during trips.
In stead of following a mapped out travel itinerary, how can I add a surprise factor to a trip?
To answer this question I focussed on the single solo traveler aged 25-35 and interviewed a bunch of them. I particularly wanted to find out if serendipity was something people actually appreciated, or that spontaneity and surprise are characteristics that are best avoided during a solo trip.
It turned out most travelers don't spend much time planning trips before taking off and usually find their up to date information about highlights as well as less touristic things right on the spot. People heavily rely on tips from locals, fellow travelers or friends but these sources aren’t always reliable or available. Not having a fixed schedule allows for unexpected opportunities to arise and those unplanned moments seem to bring the best travel experiences. But because these can be hard to find most travelers prepare a back up list with potential activities on forehand.
Alexandra Hall - Persona
The product backlog
I translated my key insights from my interviews into a comprehensive persona to help me gain perspective of the eventual user of my app. The assumed user journey illustrates the big chunk of pre-trip activity my persona needs to complete in order to be properly prepared for her trip. Because the interviews pointed out she doesn’t have (or doesn’t take) the time for this I really had to make sure the app was going to take that load off of her.
My hypothesis still stood; The surprise factor (like the golden tip from a local) is extremely important for a young thrill seeking solo traveler. But at the same time a risk to rely on as your only resource. I wanted to turn the risky business of serendipity into a less stressful and easy to find source of information to use on the spot.
By building an app around the concept of exploring cities by foot I hoped to appeal to my exact target group
How I believed I solved the problem
I took my insights into the design studio and explored different solutions. The result? An app that will curate information about highlights for you which will be revealed to you as you explore along. With this app, the less you know about your destination the better your experience will be. By using the app you will get lost and this is exactly where the magic happens. It is the moment where flexibility, spontaneity and surprise kick in to make a unique travel experience without having to rely on travel advice from locals or friends, all within the save boundaries the app provides.
Since Alex is no longer required to do tons of research before her trip you can see how little is left of the big pre-trip pile in the new contextual user journey.
The fact that there was so little identical material out there in app stores was suspicious to say the least. I found a few indirect competitors (mainly on psychogeography - the art of strolling) providing me with one key takeaway. I learned that people say they like freedom but when given to them, or too much of it, they will become resistent to it. I concluded that I deliberately had to equip my app with some serious boundaries to prevent people from dropping out.
I wasn't there yet. I turned my wireframes into a prototype and I let a few people test my app, but it miserably failed. I realized that I had dreamed big, too big. People got excited by the concept but using it was simply too complicated. The concept required an elaborate onboarding process in the first place, but even equipped with instructions people still ended up entangled in the terminology of the app. But not only my language had to simplify, the complete structure of the app needed a downgrade.
I ended up redesigning the whole user flow with all its wireframes. I decided to conceil my main concept by making it a secondary function. That turned out to be a smart move. In stead of creating an app that gives you suggestions on where to go (while tracking your activity), I created an app that tracks your activity (while giving you suggestions on where to go). Because people are already familiar with activity trackers, There was no longer need to explain the functionality of the app with annoying onboarding pages. Basically, the redesign is “just” a walking activity tracker but one with such cool functions that you definitely want to use it on your travels.
A working prototype will be available soon...
Back to Homepage | Next Project